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View Full Version : Hunter "Fly-in"


PurpHaze
03-15-2007, 07:21 AM
Actually, not flying but driving because we're close enough. (Gonna hate the LA traffic when we get down there.) Leaving in about a half hour for San Marcos for a two day tour of the Hunter complex. I'll make a report when I get back and I'll try and take some pics. :)

SprinklerGuy
03-15-2007, 08:20 AM
Last time I did that I ended up with a pocket of 1 dollar bills, a new putter, and a beautiful PGP that I made myself.....

Good dinner in gaslight district of SanDiego and a trip to SeaWorld....ahhhh those were the days....

OKSooner
03-15-2007, 08:46 AM
Cool. We'll be waiting.

Dirty Water
03-15-2007, 10:28 AM
No fair at all :(

gusbuster
03-15-2007, 12:50 PM
Well your gone by now, but enjoy and make the wife drive.

PurpHaze
03-17-2007, 12:34 PM
What a fantastic experience! I'll post info and pics in a little bit as soon as I get them organized. :)

Beartooth
03-17-2007, 07:01 PM
I agree, I went to the Hunter Campus last March. I was very impressed!

PurpHaze
03-17-2007, 11:45 PM
A campus it is!

Hunter currently has eight buildings in the commercial complex and a new distribution warehouse building will be opened by the end of the year. Everyone we met (from VPs and product line managers down to the guys and gals working the assembly lines were cordial and answered any questions we had. Blew me away when a line would shut down because their goal was to answer anything we asked. There was also no restrictions on taking pictures anywhere in the campus we wished.

They make everything from the plastic injection molders either they've built themselves or from a few newer ones that were built for them by a German company. They also make all their molds for the injectors and some of them are valued at $300k. They have an impressive quality control department that can shut down a line if minute tolerances aren't met. Their testing sections can also shut down lines if the specifications aren't met.

They treated us like royalty... from putting us up at the La Costa Resort and Spa (my room had a balcony that overlooked the North Course #1 green), to dinner night out in Del Mar (plenty of wine and other drinks) and catered meals at the factory site. Every time we gathered in the educational center for discussions someone was taking notes on any concerns or suggestions we had.

I'll post pictures tomorrow which will explain a lot of what actually goes on down there.

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 11:34 AM
First set of pictures is of the general landscaping around the Hunter Campus buildings. It was impeccable. Joke was that they have to keep an eye out for competitor manufacturers slipping in at night and replacing Hunter heads with their own. :)

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 11:40 AM
This set is the La Costa Resort and Spa where we were put up. The last picture is our group with Sam Perez, our Hunter rep, on the right just before heading for Del Mar to a great restaurant. (Maybe some day I'll tell you about the fantastic wine I had.) I'm the "tall midget" in the middle. :laugh:

We did not pay for anything on either the trip down/up or during our stay. The whole bill was on Hunter as a way of saying "thanks" to us.

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 11:52 AM
Pictures from some of the assembly areas. They were putting out a lot of I-20s and I-40s that day. The lines appeared jovial and any employee stopped and answered any questions we had. They make everything on site for these heads including the stainless steel risers and springs. Each rotor is air tested before being boxed up. I would have liked to just back a truck up and abscond with several white boxes since I know their value... and there were just sooooo many of them. :laugh:

The last picture is the PGP line that is totally automated. It was down at the time because it had already met its weekly quota. It was stated that although Hunter is automating as much as possible there have been no cutbacks on employees. They train them to service the machines or advance into another area. We met several employees who had advanced from the assembly line to other very important jobs.

BTW... Hunter valves are made at a similar campus in Tijuana, Mexico down the freeway a bit. I spoke with a Canadian group that had toured that facility the day before and they said the facilities down there are as nice and easy going as the main facilities.

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 12:00 PM
Here's a couple of pictures from the building where they make the molds for the injection molders. The first one shows the guys putting back together a mold worth about $100k that had been removed from the line for routine PM. They are totally torn apart, cleaned, regreased and rebuilt at a specified number of runs because of the tight tolerances they endure. The second picture is of a cutter that uses electrical charge to cut very close tolerances. The parts fit together so close that we had a hard time taking them apart. They use a lot of very expensive equipment controlled by computers to make all the molds for the injectors. I didn't get as many pictures in this building because we were handling materials and I got lost in the fascination of the whole environment. :)

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 12:14 PM
These are the injection molders where all the plastic parts, everything from bodies to nozzles to internal gears and stators, are made on site. The molders are located on the second floor and in the old days the parts used to drop down chutes to the assembly line. They don't do that any longer because the lines will rotate start-ups based on inventory and projected sales. The parts are now transported downstairs in rolling bins by employees.

All plastic scrap, such as parts trees or bad runs, are ground and recycled and can become as much as 20% of a new batch of resin. The resin pellets are pumped to each injector and all machines are computer controlled. The injection molders in the pictures were all built by Hunter and some of them are over 20 years old. There are two more banks to the left of the picture not shown. Another room holds about 20 injection molders that were built by a German company to Hunter specifications.

One picture shows the molds waiting on shelves for installation into the machines. They are ready to replace molds that are taken out for PM so the injectors can keep on doing their job. Some of the molds have a $300k value.

The last picture shows boxes of PGP nozzles waiting to be transported downstairs to the automated PGP assembly line.

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 12:19 PM
Pictures of Hunter Park named in honor of Ed Hunter. We had lunch outside on a beautiful San Marcos day. Fajitas and tacos and all the trimmings.

The Hunter Campus also has a fitness center for the employees which is staffed by personal trainers.

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 12:36 PM
Last, but not least, some pictures of the rotors and sprays testing facilities.

The first three pictures are of the rotors test area. They tested an I-40 (adjusted at 90 degrees) with a #41 nozzle at 80 PSI for us. The catch tubes are spaced every two feet, are computerized and then displayed on a huge plasma on the wall. We were able to watch the results as they were relayed in. The smaller enclosed square testers on the sides were running tests on continuous watering under varying temperatures with varying water types to test durability rates.

The last two pictures show the spray "pods" testing facility that is one-of-a-kind to the industry. The pods collect the drops and the computer projects the results in various graphs on a large screen so you gave a visual of what is actually occurring. Hunter tests all its sprays and nozzles in this area. They also test for heat and cold tolerance in chambers and burst an Industrial Spray for us. It took over 600 PSI to burst the cap near the threads.

Dirty Water
03-18-2007, 12:57 PM
http://www.lawnsite.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=76131&stc=1&d=1174233225

This is a EDM mill.

Both my father in law (Who passed away a few years back) and my step-father-in-law make plastic injection molds for a living, So I've seen this stuff up close. Its amazing the tolerances they have to be made at.

Great pics.

Flow Control
03-18-2007, 01:21 PM
PURP "They make everything on site for these heads including the stainless steel risers and springs."


My rep lied to me, had HORRIBLE probs with the I-20SS, rep blamed prob on "Crappy 3rd party vendor" WTF?

Dirty Water
03-18-2007, 01:31 PM
PURP "They make everything on site for these heads including the stainless steel risers and springs."


My rep lied to me, had HORRIBLE probs with the I-20SS, rep blamed prob on "Crappy 3rd party vendor" WTF?

Me to, the shaft would just rotate and you couln't spin the body without digging around it a little...On brand new heads.

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 02:08 PM
My rep lied to me, had HORRIBLE probs with the I-20SS, rep blamed prob on "Crappy 3rd party vendor" WTF?

Don't know what to tell you but I saw the stainless steel rolls ready for bending, etc. Perhaps the SS they received wasn't up to par?

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 02:10 PM
This is a EDM mill.

Both my father in law (Who passed away a few years back) and my step-father-in-law make plastic injection molds for a living, So I've seen this stuff up close. Its amazing the tolerances they have to be made at.

Great pics.

What amazed me even more is that you can touch the wire that the electricity is going through and not get shocked.

Wet_Boots
03-18-2007, 02:20 PM
Perhaps the SS they received wasn't up to par?I have some old Toro 300 series gear drives with rusted shafts. Seems a roll of non-stainless wire snuck in, and nobody was looking for it.

Mike Leary
03-18-2007, 03:41 PM
I had the great honor to meet Ed Hunter years ago, quite the guy.
He told me then his biggest regret was he let Toro keep the patent
for the "Stream-Rotor". He tried to replicate it in plastic & failed huge.
Rest easy Ed!

Wet_Boots
03-18-2007, 05:07 PM
Toro did a television ad for their sprinklers, sometime in the 1990's, and the only heads you saw were the stream rotors. I kind of wished they could have scaled up the stream rotor to spray further. I still have a few of their "Rain Pro" 320 heads around somewhere.

PurpHaze
03-18-2007, 07:24 PM
I had the great honor to meet Ed Hunter years ago, quite the guy. He told me then his biggest regret was he let Toro keep the patent for the "Stream-Rotor". He tried to replicate it in plastic & failed huge. Rest easy Ed!

Hunter is aware of the tremendous success that the MP-Rotator is having right now. There were shy hushes when I asked if Hunter was working on something in this class. Don't hold me to the Gospel truth but I heard that it's not totally out of the realm. When I suggested that maybe Hunter should just buy them out it was met with a coy smile. Maybe something is up but I don't want to peg down who I was talking with since there were no concrete answers.

gusbuster
03-19-2007, 08:39 AM
Hunter is aware of the tremendous success that the MP-Rotator is having right now. There were shy hushes when I asked if Hunter was working on something in this class. Don't hold me to the Gospel truth but I heard that it's not totally out of the realm. When I suggested that maybe Hunter should just buy them out it was met with a coy smile. Maybe something is up but I don't want to peg down who I was talking with since there were no concrete answers.


Hayes,
You were not the only one to hear that Hunter was coming out with something that is comparable to the MP-Rotator, though the buy out of the Walla Walla company makes more sense than completely coming up with their own product. Heck, if Microsoft can do it with software, why can't Hunter Industries do the same?

I was also told by late 2007 to early 2008 this product would be available. We'll just have to wait and see. If it is a buy out option, I wonder how they would get by\around the exclusive distribution that Ewing has on the rotator here in the west? I mean, at least here in the west, J.D.L., Horizon, Ewing and other countless irrigation houses carry the Hunter product line.

Critical Care
03-19-2007, 07:05 PM
Hayes, I want to thank you for taking the time and effort to post all of those pics Slow time down in V-ville I'm assuming... Nevertheless, thanks from those of us who will more than likely never make it over to the the Big H "campus"

PurpHaze
03-19-2007, 09:27 PM
You're very welcome CC. The opportunity came at the right time. :)

Now we have half our systems up and running and the work orders (most unrelated things that we couldn't see over the winter) are starting to pick up and stack up. From here on out our main focus will probably be actual sprinkler repairs/replacements instead of all the main line leaks we've repaired over the winter.

PurpHaze
03-19-2007, 09:31 PM
I was also told by late 2007 to early 2008 this product would be available. We'll just have to wait and see. If it is a buy out option, I wonder how they would get by\around the exclusive distribution that Ewing has on the rotator here in the west? I mean, at least here in the west, J.D.L., Horizon, Ewing and other countless irrigation houses carry the Hunter product line.

Hard telling what will happen. I'd assume that Hunter will find a way to engineer and market their own product. However, if a buy-out occurred they'd probably have to honor any exclusivity already in effect but Hunter already has a pretty good relationship with Ewing... at least in our area.

Beartooth
03-19-2007, 11:09 PM
I have repeatedly heard that Hunter does not want to push the market too hard on the introduction of a head that will compete with the MP, as Walla Walla pays Hunter a royalty for every sale.

PurpHaze
03-20-2007, 08:01 AM
Wow... interesting. Maybe it goes back to the original development of stream-type rotor development.

Wet_Boots
03-20-2007, 08:43 AM
Toro would still have something to say on that, if those patents haven't expired. Hunter can probably afford to wait, while someone else's reputation is at stake on the existing product. There might be some long-term problems with MP Rotators, depending on how the materials hold up.

Mike Leary
03-20-2007, 04:39 PM
We've been using the MP since introduced, sure are great for retro-fits!

Don't bother with the strips or 1000 series.
Mike

bicmudpuppy
03-20-2007, 05:05 PM
I wonder "WHO" the patent belongs to for the stream rotor nozzle/design. I was once told that almost all the patents in our industry are held by 3 or 4 people. Dr. "K" being one and Mr. Hunter being another. I should be able to pop two more off my head, but can't seem to right now.

jerryrwm
03-20-2007, 06:04 PM
I wonder "WHO" the patent belongs to for the stream rotor nozzle/design. I was once told that almost all the patents in our industry are held by 3 or 4 people. Dr. "K" being one and Mr. Hunter being another. I should be able to pop two more off my head, but can't seem to right now.Max Snoddy - founder of Telsco-Weathermatic is another pioneer

Wet_Boots
03-20-2007, 06:10 PM
A lot of basic patents have long expired. The first gear drive head was introduced over seventy years ago.

Beartooth
03-20-2007, 11:15 PM
I also had the opportunity to go through a Rain Bird factory a couple of years back, I was amazed to see Hunter stickers on some of the injection molds, and a few othe machines throughout the plant. When I asked about it, I was told that Ed Hunter had allowed Rain Bird to use some of his technology but a deal was struck that the machines had to bear the Hunter name!

Mike Leary
03-21-2007, 07:54 PM
Very interesting about who is holding sprinkler design rights, Max Snoddy
is one of my heros...from what Ed Hunter told me, Toro still holds rights to
the coolest sprinkler ever made...."Stream-Rotor 300 series". Now, "are you
listening Toro?..a 6" pop-up w/factory LDC would get us back to using more.

Critical Care
03-21-2007, 09:06 PM
I also had the opportunity to go through a Rain Bird factory a couple of years back, I was amazed to see Hunter stickers on some of the injection molds, and a few othe machines throughout the plant. When I asked about it, I was told that Ed Hunter had allowed Rain Bird to use some of his technology but a deal was struck that the machines had to bear the Hunter name!

Well, that's interesting. Perhaps the interchangeability of components is greater than what I thought...

So, can a RB 5004 be placed in a PGP body? An 1804 stuck into the body of a Pro-Spray?

gusbuster
03-21-2007, 09:27 PM
1804 stuck into the body of a Pro-Spray?

Don't think the ratchet part (part that pops up) is the same though I think the diameter is the the same. Going to have to find a 1804 and pro spray that I have lying around.

Seriously though, I find it real hard to be that pressing to have to resort to that in the field.

PurpHaze
03-21-2007, 10:10 PM
Seriously though, I find it real hard to be that pressing to have to resort to that in the field.

Maybe from a contractor standpoint but in my case I'd love to see a Hunter I-spray that would fit into a Toro 570 body. When I mentioned that to one of the Hunter product managers he just smiled. :)

I'm beginning to think that there's a major conspiracy going on out there and that all the major manufacturers are owned by some huge secret conglomerate. :laugh:

bicmudpuppy
03-21-2007, 10:22 PM
I know I'm not the only one who remembers when valves were brass and almost all the external parts interchanged? A bleed screw fit, the flow control fit, the body screws were the same, etc. The internal machinings were different, but for the most part, even the solenoid posts were the same. But a buckner rep told me back then that one of the reasons for that was that the working brass foundry belonged to buckner and they made all those valve bodies. I never followed up to see how true that was. Buckner was a great brand if your area had service. Some parts of the country never had good warehouse support for the products. The same is true today. It isn't really the "brand", it is the service you can get locally that makes the big difference in where you buy what you buy. If your wasting time saving nickels, I promise you are throwing dollars away elsewhere.

PurpHaze
03-21-2007, 10:37 PM
Buckner (now storm) is close to us. Febco (now Watts?) is close to us. This area was somewhat the hot spot regarding ag irrigation and there is still a LOT of ag here.

Wet_Boots
03-21-2007, 10:50 PM
There was more than one brass foundry. Western Brass made most of those 'identical' impact heads you saw in various catalogs. Their own line was Western Rain-trol.

As far as interchangeable goes, I always wondered why the female-threaded spray nozzles like Rainbird, were made with a pitch that was one thread-per-inch different than the existing fine-thread brass nozzles of the day.

gusbuster
03-21-2007, 11:08 PM
Buckner (now storm) is close to us. Febco (now Watts?) is close to us. This area was somewhat the hot spot regarding ag irrigation and there is still a LOT of ag here.

Watts\Febco---Paso Robles if I remember, just the other side of the mountain for you,(west) well almost.

As far as Ag goes, Ca still rules. The sad part is that it's all big Ag and no more the mom and pop farms that I grew up with. Reason why most of my family in Chowchilla got out of Ag and went into other trades. Almonds and Cotton the way to go if you want to make money now adays farming. Can't forget about the Citrus east of you, though this year freeze did hit them hard.